Tuesday 19 January 2010

Birthday Treat

I finished off work early today - well, it is my birthday - and my wife told me I had to go out for the afternoon while as she and the kids were going to make a "surprise" cake. I happily obliged and headed off to the Bald Barista.

I was hoping to catch up with Buzz and have a coffee with him. We were planning on brewing up some espresso beans he had just received which he described, in what I presume are professional terms, as *%&*!* amazing! Unfortunately he wasn't around so, following a quick double espresso, I headed off to my other favourite coffee location to see Colin at 3fe.

What I've been really liking about 3fe is that if a customer simply wants a cappuccino to go, that's fine. If another wants to stick around longer and talk coffee there's time for that too. Also, despite the name of the cafe (third floor espresso) they serve filter coffee as well. Only, this isn't filter coffee that is already sitting in a flask waiting for you to order it, this is filter coffee that is ground and brewed by the single cup. There are always a couple of coffees to choose from and they are never run-of-the-mill standard beans. Today I had the time (and excuse) to stay a while and have a few cups.

I had a Brazil coffee that had hints of hazelnut and chocolate and an incredible Ethiopian coffee with clearly palatable fruity notes of orange, red grape, and a very floral scent. I know this all sounds a bit poncey to anyone who thinks that coffee just tastes like coffee, but it really is amazing that you can discover these flavours in the cup. I've been enjoying it anyway.

But what was most fascinating was a coffee-type drink called Kilimanjaro Cascara. This is basically an infusion of dried coffee cherries, brewed much like you would a fruit tea. The coffee cherry is the usually discarded fruit that is wrapped around the seed which we have come to know and love as the coffee bean. Anyway, once brewed it makes for a deliciously syrupy-sweet, fruity drink...that also tastes like a mild coffee! It could also be served cold like an iced tea, but I'm not so sure about that. I don't like iced tea, though I'm told I haven't really had it served to me the proper way.

My coffee excursion ended with a double shot of Colin's seasonal espresso and I was off home (slightly shaking) to see what the family had been up to. I arrived to discover a cake from a single estate origin run by a young family in Dublin. On the nose there was a warm, pleasing aroma and I was looking forward to tasting this unique blend of flour, sugar and eggs. It had a soft mouthfeel with a sweet, decadent chocolate taste which was dominant on the plate. I definitely detected high notes of syrup and icing with a hint of sugar strands. I also discovered custardy tones running throughout. Superlative!


St said...

But do you buzz when you go to bed?

Cosmo said...


Actually, I've been meaning to write a post about how coffee keeps me awake at night...

Snot Head said...

I was beginning to wonder how the caffeine was affectiing you. Two double shots and something like 3 or 4 cups of coffee? Lol sounds like quite the birthday to me. I was expecting to hear about your coffee hangover the next morning. Ha! I have a low tolerance for caffeine. Three cups of store brand coffee give me the jitters.

Cosmo said...

Well know, Snot Head. Here's the thing. There's a good chance that your "store brand" coffee is a blend of beans that most probably includes a certain percentage of robusta beans (as appose to being 100% arabica). Not only are robusta beans cheaper and lower quality they also tend to have twice the amount of caffeine. So your 3 or 4 cups could be the equivalent of me having 5 or 6 speciality cups.

Plus...a shot of espresso (contrary to popular belief) contains 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of caffeine of a regular cup of coffee. Just because it has a strong taste doesn't mean a higher caffeine content. It's the way coffee beans are roasted which brings out the flavours.

Plus...I know from experience that cup sizes over here tend to be smaller than over there. So an approx 200ml cup would be about 7oz.

See? I don't drink too much coffee after all (he says, justifying himself).

Snot Head said...

ha! Perfect. Glad we got that all sorted out. And thanks for the explanation! Now I won't be so nervous about ordering a cappuccino at 8pm. I always wondered why cheap coffee made me feel more jittery than a cappuccino/latte. Now I know. :)

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